I’ve just about given up on making resolutions for New Years, I so seldom keep them. But here’s one I’m determined to keep and maybe you’ll think about joining me:
I plan to read the Bible every day.
I’m sure you’ve read the reasons, both the negative –
“Ignorance of the Bible means ignorance of Christ” (that’s St. Jerome)
and the positive –
“Read daily and thence gather food for your soul” (Benedict XV-not XVI-wrote that).
I like that idea of gathering food for my soul, kind of like the children of Israel gathering manna every day.
Something else Benedict XV said struck me: “Our one desire for all the Church’s children is that, being saturated with the Bible, they may arrive at the all surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ” (Spiritus Paraclitus, 69).
How do you like that – being saturated! The thing about things that are saturated is that when you squeeze them, whatever they’re filled with comes out. So if I am saturated with Scripture, then when I get squeezed by life, the right Word should come to mind. Better yet, it should “come to mouth” and even be evident in the way I act. It may take a while to get to that point, but it will never happen if I don’t start taking the Word into my heart.
Here’s another good quote from Benedict XV:
“If aught could sustain and support a wise man in this life or help him to preserve his equanimity amid the conflicts of the world, it is, I reckon, meditation on and knowledge of the Bible” (SP, 59).
Sustenance. Support. Equanimity. Saturation will do that for you.
So here I go. Daily reading, coming up. Will you join me? Here are some ideas if you don’t know where to start:
- Grab a lectionary and read the gospel reading every day for a year.
- Read a Psalm a day. When you’re done, start back at the beginning. After that, zero in on your favorites. Or get familiar with praying the Liturgy of the Hours.
- Start with Matthew 1 and make your way through the New Testament. Take your time, even if it’s just a few sentences a day. Let it soak in. Listen and pray with it.
- I once spent an entire school year reading a chapter of Proverbs a day. There are 31 chapters, so it’s easy to go to the day you’re on.
- Don’t be afraid to repeat something good over and over. You might even memorize a book that way, without trying. Think what God could do in your soul with that level of saturation….
- Start the year out with the Bible Timeline’s 90-day reading plan. It’ll take you through the entire biblical narrative (14 books in all) in three months. Sign up here to have a daily message, reading assignment, and question sent to your inbox. When you’re done, go back and spend leisurely, prayerful time in the books that spoke the most to you.
- Read through that same set of readings (the Bible Timeline plan) in a year instead of three months by reading just a chapter a day. Use this check-off list or read with the help of the Bible Timeline Guided Journal.
What will I do? I’m planning a combination of the above. The key to success is the habit – which I’ll address in another post.
2014 – ready or not, here I come!
Let me know how you plan to saturate, if this is your goal. And may the Lord richly bless you as you read!